NCAA BK

Coach K up against the clock

Share This Story

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 
This could be the last time we see Coach K in the Final Four.

That’s not a stretch.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski turned 63 back in February. Those close to him say they expect him keep going for a while – at the very least until he becomes the all-time winningest coach in Div. I history, surpassing his mentor, Bob Knight.

Coack K has 866 career victories, a mere 36 shy of Knight.

If that’s the case, that’ll happen in two years.

"He doesn’t just want to break it,” said one person close to Krzyzewski. "He wants to shatter it."

No one thought it would be a six-year hiatus for Coach K from the last time he appeared in the Final Four – back in 2004 with J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams.

Since then, the Blue Devils haven’t gotten past the Sweet 16.

Until now.

Krzyzewski has three national titles to his credit – back-to-backs in 1991 and 1992 and another one nine years ago.

Those were the days when you could pretty much just mark Duke down on your bracket to win at least four games and breathe easy. The Blue Devils were among the final quartet for five consecutive seasons from 1988 to 1992.

They were a machine.

But something has happened over the last few years.

North Carolina has, other than this past season, established a measure of dominance since Matt Doherty was replaced by Roy Williams. The Tar Heels have won two national titles since Duke was last in the Final Four.

Duke’s recruiting hasn’t been nearly as powerful as it had been back in the day. They used to be able to identify an elite player and it was a lock they would wind up luring him to Durham.

That’s no longer the case.

Even the ones that they have gotten haven’t lived up to the hype. Guys like Josh McRoberts, Greg Paulus, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek,

Few thought this Blue Devils team – one that is built around a trio of good college players in Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith – would get back to the promised land.

Duke lost Gerald Henderson Jr. early to the NBA and was shocked with the transfer of starting guard Elliott Williams back home to Memphis in the offseason.

It’s hardly an intimidating group, but Krzyzewski has orchestrated one of his most impressive coaching jobs in a 35-year career that dates back to Army in 1976.

But the truth is this was a season of mediocrity, not parity.

Now, believe it or not, Coach K doesn’t just have an opportunity to win a fourth national title with two more wins – including one Saturday night against West Virginia.

The Blue Devils enter the Final Four as the favorite to cut down the nets on Monday night in Indianapolis. They would have to take care of Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers and then beat the winner of the Butler-Michigan State game.

Duke will lose its point guard, Scheyer, and veteran big man Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas off this year’s team. Much of the hopes for next season rest on the fate of talented freshman floor leader  Kyrie Irving, who will come in and immediately slide into Scheyer’s spot.

All signs point to Singler returning for his senior campaign, but that’s still not a guarantee – and Coach K and his staff lost out on the top-ranked player in the country, athletic forward Harrison Barnes, to that other team on Tobacco Road.

There’s certainly a chance that Coach K could make another appearance next season – especially if the Plumlee brothers – Mason and Miles – make significant strides, Irving is ready to make an instant impact and Singler returns for his final go-around.

But those are all ifs.

Stephen Curry’s little brother, Seth, becomes eligible after sitting out this year following a transfer from Liberty – and two more freshmen 6-foot-8 power forward Josh Hairston and guard Tyler Thornton – will join the program.

While the future looks brighter in Durham, it’s still far from a lock that Krzyzewski will return to the Final Four.

What if it takes six more years?

I’m not sure Coach K will still be around.
Tagged: Duke

More Stories From Jeff Goodman

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..